Home prices in Seattle have increased at a remarkable rate. But that doesn’t have to keep you from creating the home of your dreams — if you’re willing to rethink your approach.

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Q: Does the continuing rise in the housing market mean we’re just out of luck if we want a home upgrade in the near future?

A: If you live in the Seattle area, you’ve probably seen the headlines about our area’s hot housing market. According to the monthly Case-Shiller home price index, released this week, prices here are rising faster than anywhere else in the country for the 10th straight month.

Even some wealthy foreign investors are finding themselves being forced out of the market. What does that mean for people already living in the Seattle area? What if you already own a home but it no longer meets your needs? Does it mean that owning the house of your dreams is out of reach?

Not at all. It may, however, require you to think a little bit differently about how to achieve your goals.

Start by taking a close look at what remodeling can really mean. Sometimes homeowners think about remodeling in terms of “freshening up” a home or “giving their home a facelift.” While those are legitimate remodeling goals, those kinds of projects are more cosmetic in nature. What you may want to pursue is what’s known as a “whole home remodel.” This kind of project can be a complete reinvention or recreation of your existing home.

A design-build remodeler can look at your existing space and often find ways to better use the space you already have. For instance, you may feel that your smaller kitchen no longer meets your family’s needs. But how can you increase your kitchen space without expanding the footprint of your home? What if that’s not an option? A design-build remodeler can look at the space and often “find” space that’s unused.

You might also be able to take advantage of other under-utilized spaces in your home. Remodeling your basement can add a lot of great livable space without actually adding on. Depending on your home, you might want to head in the exact opposite direction and tap into the unused space in your attic.

There’s no question that the Seattle housing market is hot right now, and that has pushed prices up. But building a new home in a new area isn’t your only option. You can still enjoy the benefits of a new home without having to move from a neighborhood you love.


Brooks Powell is the general manager of Powell Homes and Renovations and a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, and HomeWork is the MBA’s weekly column. If you have a home  improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to homework@mbaks.com.